The Spirit of Christmas

I can honestly say that I look forward to and anticipate the Christmas season all year long. The food, smells, family time, movies, and music is nostalgic and timeless for me, and for some reason this year in particular I am beyond excited for it to be here. As soon as Thanksgiving Day ended, I was cranking my Michael Buble Christmas album and using pine scented soap and cleaning products in our home. It's just the most wonderful time of year!

Christmas to me is a time to really reflect on my relationship with my Savior, Jesus Christ. I have felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for Him the past few weeks as I've studied his life in the scriptures, listened to music that reminds me of the humble circumstances in which he came to the world, and hearing and reading the words of the leaders of our church in celebration of His life. I've felt very close to Christ, and have felt so much love and warmth in my heart as I ponder on how I can be a better person and better follow His perfect example He set for us. 

I want more than anything to carry this feeling I have with me throughout the entire year. I'm talking about the feeling I get when I watch the faces of those I love laughing and talking and just spending time together. The feeling I have when I sit quietly underneath the Christmas tree in the warmth of the lights and beautiful decorations and just think about how very blessed I am. That same feeling enters my heart when I read the account of the disciples of Jesus Christ who recorded the story of Christ's birth in Bethlehem, and when I think about his mother, Mary, the handmaiden of the Lord chosen to bring his perfect son into the world. 

Bonnie L. Oscarson gave a great address a couple weeks ago on this idea in a Christmas devotional that really touched my heart. She said, "The spirit of Christmas is Christlike love. The way to increase the Christmas spirit is to reach out generously to those around us and give of ourselves. The best gifts are not material things but gifts of listening, of showing kindness, of remembering, of visiting, of forgiving, of giving time."

John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” God loved us enough to send us His son, and every year we can show our gratitude for his love by loving others. Being a little more kind and giving a little more of our time, energy, and talents to those around us. As we strive to show love to others, we will feel the love of Jesus Christ, the spirit of Christmas, fill our hearts and homes, and that feeling is something we can keep with us all year long.